According to several reports, for a brief time period on Thursday late afternoon (or early evening, depending on your time zone), multiple major Internet news sites experienced a bug
that redirected visitors to Facebook
--specifically, a Facebook error page.
At least one source, Say Media, believes that the issue stemmed from a problem with oAuh authentication in Facebook Connect
(which is the feature that embeds those Facebook widgets into third-party sites). Thus, the redirect affected only those that were logged into Facebook at the time they visited given sites--but of course, that’s a huge number of people.
Several sites reported experiencing this issue anywhere from under 15 minutes to about an hour, beginning around 4pm Pacific Time Thursday afternoon.
Facebook hasn’t said anything conclusive about what’s happened, but it did send a message to NBC News that simply stated, “For a short period of time, there was a bug that redirected people from third party sites with Facebook Login to Facebook.com. The issue was quickly resolved.”
Of course, site admins could (and possibly in some cases did) disable Facebook Connect to get around the problem, it’s a testament to Facebook’s Internet-wide ubiquity that a single bug could hijack so much of the Internet all at once.